Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair carded a better-ball score of 64 on Sunday to win the QBE Shootout by two shots over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry
It was a tussle between the two teams all day in the unofficial PGA Tour event hosted by Greg Norman, but it was the American duo who came out victors.
Stricker and O’Hair found themselves two shots adrift of McDowell and Lowry during the front nine but rallied with three birdies in a row from the 7th to 9th. Two further gains came at the 11th and 14th to put themselves ahead by one shot heading to the reachable 17th with the green guarded by a huge bunker with a vetted, waist-high wall.
“Walking to 17 tee, Steve said, `A 3 would go a long way right now,'” O’Hair said.
O’Hair hit 7-iron from 195 yards over the bunker and it bounced onto the green about 12 feet away. McDowell and Lowry both hit into the bunker, with Lowry’s ball against the face of the wall that forced him to play sideways into the bunker. Both players had to settle for par, and O’Hair rolled in his eagle putt for a three-shot lead.
“He played great today,” Stricker said. “He hit a great shot on 17. That’s the stuff you need to do to win a tournament, and Sean pulled it off.”
McDowell holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole as he and Lowry closed with a 66, but it wasn’t enough to make up the defecit, finishing on 24-under-par and falling short of Stricker and O’Hair by two shots.
Stricker and O’Hair, who have both won the tournament before with different partners, finished at 26-under 190 and each earned $410,000. Stricker won in 2009 with Jerry Kelly, and O’Hair won in 2012 with Kenny Perry.
O’Hair was playing for only the second time since he had surgery after the BMW Championship in Chicago to clean up cartilage in his right knee.
“This is always a great event to finish the year off with, and to pull this off is special,” O’Hair said. “But to do it with Steve is even that much better for me. I’m a golf geek, so he’s a friend of mine, but still it’s kind of hard not to look at him and kind of put him a little bit up on a pedestal.”
Pat Perez and Brian Harman shot 64 to finish third, while Lexi Thompson (the only LPGA Tour player in the 12 team field) and Tony Finau were tied for fourth after shooting a 66 to end up
Lexi Thompson, the only LPGA Tour player in the 12-team field, and Tony Finau closed with a 66 and tied for fourth at 21-under par with Gary Woodland/Daniel Berger and Brendan Steele/Keegan Bradley.